All public figures, even the saintly Lincoln, are prone to accusations of inconsistency and hypocrisy, and the longer the tenure the louder the charges. While Jefferson was been vilified at times throughout his long career, he seemed to emerge from his deathbed remarkably unscathed, given his many transgressions. In the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the amnesia of history did much to solidify a reputation that was rarely on solid ground during his checkered and tumultuous life. However, in recent scholarship, Jeffersons character has begun to suffer once again from a litany of severe and even virulent criticisms. It is true that many specific details of Jeffersons life remain obscured, much as he would have wished. But clearly, the day of the blindly venerating
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